Saturday, December 20, 2008

No Time For Lame Excuses Mr. Monserrate

Calling this guy Councilman or even Senator-Elect just seems wrong at this point. Hiram Monserrate may be innocent until proven guilty, as we are all entitled to but when you have an aggregation of facts it is hard to ignore what will most likely become of this domestic dispute, this violence, this criminal behavior. Monserrate could just come clean and apologize for his actions, but no, he has to be the greedy politician he is and do whatever it takes to escape blame.

From The NY Times:

At Mr. Monserrate’s arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on Friday evening, the assistant district attorney, Scott Kessler, said that Mr. Monserrate told the police he was bringing his companion, Karla Giraldo, 30, a glass of water and leaned over and tripped, and the glass hit her. But the prosecutor said that Ms. Giraldo later said that the couple had a “loud and boisterous” argument about an item he found in her purse. He was holding a glass, which broke in his hand, she told officers.

“Then, in emotion, he stabbed her,” Mr. Kessler said.

He said Ms. Giraldo was now saying that it was an accident and that she did not want an order of protection. Mr. Kessler noted that that was common in domestic violence cases.

I feel terrible that Mr. Monserrate's actions (this week's episode most likely not being the first) have led Ms. Giraldo to try and protect this monster. Thankfully the legal system can step in here and prosecutors can suss out the facts, so that in the end, whether or Councilman, Senator or not, Hiram will pay for his crimes in full (and hopefully for this one too).

Barack Hearts Science!

Imagine, a President that actually cares about science!

Rod Blagojevich Is Right

Yesterday Rod Blagojevich held a press conference got the media together so that they could listen to him proclaim his innocence. He said he did nothing wrong, that his critics were basically azzholes and that in the end, if given time by the people of Illinois he'll be in the clear. Realistically, the Illinois legislature is chomping at the bit to impeach him and criminal court is not going to be a friendly place, that is unless the judge throws out all the damning evidence against him. Yet in his statement, I get where Rod is coming from.

From TPM:

In an unwavering statement of innocence, Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Friday he will be vindicated of criminal corruption charges and has no intention of letting what he called a "political lynch mob" force him from his job. "I will fight. I will fight. I will fight until I take my last breath. I have done nothing wrong," Blagojevich said, speaking for about three minutes in his first official public comments since his arrest last week on federal corruption charges.
Oh yes he will fight, I believe that. I also believe that he means it when he says he's done nothing wrong. To the majority of us that do not sit at the top of a local, state or national government, it is hard to contemplate that selling out our government is a legitimate practice. To Rod however, it is perfectly acceptable because so many elected officials are doing it. The majority are just smart enough to not be caught on tape, especially when aware of being investigated by someone like Patrick Fitzgerald.

In many a State House and in Washington, D.C., lobbyists have bought many legislators with steak dinners, "fact-finding" trips to an exotic golf course and home renovations. To the lay person, the lobbying culture is obscene and excludes the common man from the political process. Yet to insular elected officials, lobbyists are just regular people like you and I. That is complete bull but sadly, entrapment in a political system that rewards the well-connected shields them from what really goes on in the world. When George Bush shows incredulity that the price of gas topped four dollars, that was for real.

The bubbles built with aides, lobbyists and the beltway (or in Rod's case, the Loop) are extremely powerful. So for soon to be ex-Governor Blagojevich, he'll be kicked out of office (and potentially into a jail cell) thinking he had done nothing wrong because so many others were doing the same thing.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bloomberg 29 Member Gonzalez Gets A Challenger

In a little over ten months, New Yorkers will be going back to the polls, this time to decide on city-wide elections. As you may know, twenty-nine Councilmembers voted for the Mayor's bid to extend term limits for him and themselves. They got away with it despite considerable protest from citizens, but alas, greed comes before the will of the voters for these "representatives" of the people.

So unless we a lawsuit stops this Council vote from becoming law, we'll have to throw the bums out ourselves. There are already a multiple amount of challengers to Members who sided with the Mayor. Now we have another, David Galarza, running against one of the shadier politicians at City Hall, Sara Gonzalez.

From The Daily Gotham:

I know David Galarza somewhat from local politics and consider him a good, honest candidate. Formerly a journalist, David Galarza, has been a member of community board 7 and was a communications specialist for the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA), Local 1000. Galarza worked in the public affairs departments of Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger, NYC Comptroller Alan Hevesi, the NYC Board of Education, and the Children's Aid Society. In 2005, :

Justice Committee, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, Greater NY Labor Religion Coalition, International Labor Communications Association, endorsed by Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, Lambda Independent Democrats, Independent Neighborhood Democrats

I am glad Galarza is running. We need to challenge the city council members who have shown such disregard for the voters and for accountability. Gonzalez is among the worst and Galarza strikes me as a genuinely good guy.

"Genuine" is something we are in desperate need of in New York City. With all of the domestic abusers, slush fund enthusiasts and Bloomberg apologists, the city definitely needs a change. I am looking forward to hearing more about Mr. Galarza and his vision for the City Council that currently can't see past Mayor Bloomberg's behind.

SEIU Works To Organize At McDonalds

McDonalds in no way wants their employees to be aware that their CEO makes 770 times their average wage. Nor do they want the Employee Free Choice Act passed by Congress, giving workers a chance to organize like never before. So SEIU went to many of their franchises across the country to make change happen.

Bush Goes "Practical" And Bails Out The Auto Industry

Last week President Bush said that he'd help the auto companies despite Senate Republicans' effort to kill the industry off. Today he actually followed through with it to the tune of $13.4 billion with more to come if they're good. In this rare instance, he put practicality over ideology and helped save not just three companies, but the livelihoods of millions of workers.

From TPM:

President Bush said, "Allowing the auto companies to collapse is not a responsible course of action." Bankruptcy, he said, would deal "an unacceptably painful blow to hardworking Americans" across the economy.

One official said $13.4 billion of the money would be available this month and next, $9.4 billion for General Motors Corp. and $4 billion for Chrysler LLC. Both companies have said they soon might be unable to pay their bills without federal help. Ford Motor Co. has said it does not need immediate help.

Bush said the rescue package demanded concessions similar to those outlined in a bailout plan that was approved by the House but rejected by the Senate a week ago. It would give the automakers three months to come up with restructuring plans to become viable companies.

If they fail to produce a plan by March 31, the automakers will be required to repay the loans, which they would find very difficult.

This is great news for the immediate solvency of GM and Chrysler. It also lets Obama take the issue next month with some room to spare. Bush has done a lot of terrible things, just in the last month or so, but this isn't one of them. The bad news though, is that this is the last of the first $350 billion. Two months, and that chunk of borrowed money is all gone and there is more to show of it from this last few billion than the first $200 billion or so. Well, at least some jobs have been spared this holiday George Bush no less. Maybe it's a "defining his legacy" decision.

Monserrate Makes Me Sick

This is an awful story to hear around this time of the year, or any time of the year really. Councilman and soon to be Senator Hiram Monserrate is already known to be ethically challenged with his dealings in the Gang of Four. Now it turns out that he's also a criminal of the worst sort (aaaallegedly).

From The Daily Politics:

Senator-elect Hiram Monserrate was arrested early this morning after he brought a woman believed to be his girlfriend to Long Island Jewish Hospital with severe lacerations on her face that will require multiple sitches to close, sources confirmed.

Monserrate and his girlfriend arrived at the hospital at approximately 4:30 a.m. where he was detained for questioning and subsequently arrested, according to an NYPD source. The incident occurred at an apartment at 37-20 83rd St. in Jackson Heights, Queens.

Monserrate was charged with assault one.

I hope that his (hopefully now ex-) girlfriend presses charges and authorities prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law. This man excuse for a human being (yes, allegedly) is a coward, a criminal and needs to be booted from the State Senate before he even gets there.

Battling Lizard People And Spaghetti Monsters In Minnesota

Al Franken is now the projected winner in the recount of Minnesota's highly contested Senate race.
The win is probably going to be by around one hundred votes or less, so let's see just how a couple of some of the contested ballots were determined to go the way of Coleman, Franken or, well, just take a look at how the odd ones were counted:

If You Had One Word To Describe George W. Bush

There really are far too many adjectives with negative connotations to describe our outgoing President. So many come to mind, even the ones without expletives attached. But if you had to choose just one, which would it be? Well Pew did a survey of people four years ago and another just recently to see how Americans' view of the President has changed and there is one word that truly does sum up his Presidency that got remarkable movement in between the polls.

From Pew Research:

Meanwhile, concerns about Bush's effectiveness are also seen in the one-word answers people give to describe their impressions of the president. In mid-2005, positive one-word descriptions outnumbered negative ones, but in more recent lists, the responses have been more negative. The most frequently mentioned description in the latest survey was "incompetent," just as it was in February 2007 and March 2006. Many of the terms offered by respondents in the December 2008 survey are negative, though the second most frequently mentioned description was honest. Good and honorable also make the list.

George Bush will definitely go down as one of the most incompetent Presidents of all time, without a doubt. Of course, he's also a selfish,idiotic, ignorant, stupid, arrogant ass as well.

ESDC Claims Eminent Domain To Help Expand Columbia University

Robert Moses may be dead, but his legacy lives on here in New York City. Eminent domain has been increasingly and severely abused by local and state governments to help their favored private interests gain certain properties. We've seen it in the failed attempt to build Atlantic Yards and in Uptown Manhattan. While Bruce Ratner and Frank Gehry's hopes of the reshaping Brooklyn go down the tubes, the battle to expand Columbia University into Manhattanville is raging.

From The BWOG:

At a news conference this morning, the Empire State Development Corporation unanimously voted to use the power of eminent domain to seize the remaining commercial holdouts in Columbia's Manhattanville expansion zone. That's bad news for the two property owners who have still refused to sell: storage space owner Nick Sprayregen and gas station owner Gurnam Singh, who can now legally be forced to sell their property to the state, which would then let Columbia take over the land.

Sprayregen, the far more vocal of the pair, has vowed to fight the eminent domain decision in court, having already entered several different lawsuits challenging whether Columbia's acquisition of the land will actually help the "public good." "I don't want to have to sue you," said Sprayregen's lawyer, Norman Siegel, to the staid ESDC board members. "You leave us no choice but to litigate." He said he felt sure the case would reach the Supreme Court, where ESDC's awkward history with AKRF and previous allegations it was colluding with Columbia would be weighted heavily.[...]

Though Columbia already owns over 80% of the property in its proposed expansion zone, it says it needs the land under the Singh and Sprayregen properties to construct a 7-story underground structure that will house a bus depot, parking, loading docks, and utilities.

The decision comes seven months after the ESDC approved Columbia's expansion plan and declared the area "blighted," and a year after the city's Land Use Committee approved the plan. Check out our past coverage for more background on Manhattanville.

That, in a nutshell, is what is going on in the quest for a larger Columbia campus. Now eminent domain is a practice that was initially allowed to give the government the power to help the community with public works projects. Examples include building ports, train stations, parks, things like that.

Now in this case, a for-profit University wants to increase their ability to make money by opening more facilities. In no way does it help the residents of Manhattanville (the ones they haven't already forced from their homes).

Thankfully Norman Siegel is on board to fight the ESDC and Columbia from finishing the job on these two victims of "eminent domain." Mr. Siegel is well known as the city's public advocate, even if Betsy Gotbaum beat him in an election for the official title. He isn't the best campaigner, but his legal skills are exemplary. The odds are against the store owners but that doesn't mean the fight is a lost cause, not even close.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cafferty Asks Who History Will Be Kinder To, Bush Or Cheney

According to Cafferty and his viewers, Cheney will be looked at far worse, since he is so evil:

Espada Ponders Moving Back To The Bronx Even Before Leaving For Albany

That Pedro Espada sure is clever.

No, not in the manner of helping his re-united constituents of the Bronx as a State Senator in the next session. Like everything Espada does, this is all about him and damn those that get in his way, even members of his own gang. Today he made it clear that if he doesn't get what he wants in Albany, he'll come back to the Bronx to run for Borough President next year.

From The Daily Politics:

Senator-elect Pedro Espada Jr. said in an interview today that he would "seriously explore the option" of running for the office he has always coveted - Bronx borough president - if its current occupant, Adolfo Carrion, departs, as is widely expected, for a job with the Obama administration, creating the need for a special election to select his replacement.

Assuming Carrion does head to Washington, Espada's said his decision will come down to whether or not he gets a leadership post in the Senate.

"Quite frankly, it all depends on how we end this Senate conference issue," Espada said. "...I'm absolutely not ruling it out. If I end up in a position of leadership, then obviously, that's where I'm going to stay...I like the state Legislature. But if I end up being irrelevant and superfluous and unwanted, you tell me what makes sense. What makes sense is to find a way, at my age, I'm 55 years old, to have a meaningful impact."

This shouldn't come as any big surprise to regular readers of DN Bronx Bureau Chief Bob Kappstatter's column, as he noted earlier this week that Espada couldn't be counted out from a possible race for Carrion's seat.

I wonder if Ruben Diaz Sr. is surprised, since the thinking was his son was going to run for the position. I guess Diaz and Espada aren't such good friends in the own gang. Espada though is known for doing what it takes to retain and enhance his power, whether it be by switching parties or joining political gangs to force Malcolm Smith to cede plum positions for those that do not care about the principles (what's left at least) of the Democratic Party.

Atlantic Yards Now Further From Ever Being Built

When it comes to Atlantic Yards, anything negative for Frank Gehry or Bruce Ratner is good news to me. Ratner has his share of economic and legal malaise lately, stalling the project that has left a large chunk of downtown Brooklyn abandoned. Well now the economy has claimed a portion of Frank Gehry's workforce.

From The Wall Street Journal:

Frank Gehry laid off more than two dozen staffers in late November after client Forest City Ratner ordered the architect to put down his pencils on the $4 billion Atlantic Yards project, according to people familiar with the matter. A Gehry Partners LLP spokeswoman declined to comment.[...]

Forest City Ratner's parent, Forest City Enterprises Inc., said last week that it has cut off its new development pipeline, except for Atlantic Yards. But the project faces challenges given the recession and the financial markets. A $153 million land loan from Gramercy Capital Corp. that has accrued to $177 million, is due at the beginning of February. Forest City is in talks with Gramercy to extend the loan.

If I were Gramercy, I'd find them in default. With all of the hurdles that Ratner faces, letting him off the hook for an extended period of time is a bad idea from an investor's standpoint. Ratner has done enough damage to our city (along with the politicians that help him), so putting Forest Ratner out of its misery wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

An Obama Christmas

Getting festive in the West Village:

Norm Coleman Pulled A "Ted Stevens"

Ex-Senator Ted Stevens is out of a job and a convicted felon, all thanks to being caught taking bribes such as having his home renovated. Now it looks like Ted isn't the only politician that thinks having someone re-do your kitchen for special access and legislation is legit. Although the recount isn't going so well for Norm in his bid to beat challenger Al Franken, the election is the least of his problems.

From MyFox TwinCities:

The FBI is now reportedly investigating the allegations that Nasser Kazeminy tried to funnel $75,000 in campaign contributions through the Senator's wife. By why would a U.S. Senator, who makes about $180,000 a year, need the money?
Hmm, perhaps it was greed?
Two lawsuits allege that in spring of 2007, Edina businessman Nasser Kazeminy began a series of $25,000 payments to Coleman from Deep Marine Technology, a company he controlled in Texas, to Hays Companies, the Minnesota Insurance company where Laurie Coleman works.
So what does this have to do with home remodeling?
While Coleman didn't agree to sit down for a interview, his campaign did agree to share billing records of the remodeling project. Original projections in 2006 estimated a cost of $328,000, but four months later, the construction cost was estimated at $414,000, over-budget by $86,000.

During that time is when, the lawsuit alleges, Kazeminy was trying to get money to Coleman.

According to the lawsuits, in March of 2007, Kazeminy said that "U.S. Senators don't make s---" and he was going to try to find a way to get money to Coleman.

"On the one level it could just be a coincidence, on the other level this could be one of the reasons he's getting that money from elsewhere, to try to make up for his, to be able to pay off a loan, pay off a line of credit," says Schultz.
If/when this turns into a criminal complaint and/or indictment, Coleman is going to wish he was far, far away from Minnesota or Washington.

Paterson Cuts Elections Inspectors From The Budget

Oh so many taxes, fees and cuts! Paterson's proposed budget is filled with so many items one could get lost reading it. Well, the good government groups have smart people reading through it and they found that a recently added item to the budget last year has been quickly deleted. It was meant to help New York investigate corruption in our elections...oh well.

From Politics On The Hudson:

Gov. Paterson’s budget would wipe out 21 positions designed to check for campaign-finance fraud and other problems – setting up New York to be “another Illinois,’’ a good-government lobbyist said today.

“We already have the most loophole-ridden and lax campaign-finance law in the country, and this will just further decrease the small bit of confidence New Yorkers have in their government,’’ said Barbara Bartoletti of the League of Women Voters.

Paterson’s plan would save $2.7 million by eliminating the Board of Elections jobs, most of which have yet to be filled after they were authorized in the 2007-08 state budget.

When asked if the Board of Elections could enforce campaign-finance laws without filling the positions, spokesman Robert Brehm said “we’ll do the best we can.’‘
The best we can? Oy, that isn't good. I know Paterson needs to cut a few billion from the budget, but can't help out the electoral system here in the Empire State for a mere $2.7 million? Ensuring some accountability in the process here is worth more than what it costs.


Paterson and the rest of Albany could completely reform the elections law to give New York the Clean Money, Clean Elections legislation that we so desperately need. Instead of policing the abuse of loopholes, we could simply close them all up with a public system. Yeah, yeah, I know, it'll be a cold day in hell, right?

Obama Has This Homophobe Giving The Inaugural Invocation?

I know Obama likes reaching out to both sides of the aisle in order to bring our politically fractured nation back together, but having Warren in the ceremonies is ridiculous. Getting rid of the hate has to come first as to bridge that divide and Rick Warren is a "man of the faith" that tries to divide our country even further.

Here is one of many clips showing Warren's compassion towards his fellow man:

The Mayor's Rebate Check Aquiescence Doesn't Fool Me

Council Speaker Christine Quinn can finally get up in front of the cameras at City Hall and say she battled the Mayor and won the property tax rebate battle. Except that really, she shouldn't. The Mayor is expected to give homeowners the $400 rebate that was already coming in the first place no matter how much he protested it. In return for something that was already ours, the Council has agreed to raise hotel room taxes. Considering tourism in this city, this isn't too troubling as it'll raise an extra $100 million approximately. So why should Quinn keep her quiet over all of this? Well, once that check is in the mail, the property tax is going up, and up and up.

From The S.I. Advance:

The higher property tax rate will add $1.8 billion to city revenue through the next fiscal year. The Council will also vote for a bill to raise the city's hotel occupancy tax by .875 percent, to about 6 percent. That would translate to an additional $100 million in revenue through the same time period.

With the new tax rate, the owner of a one family house at the median market value of $450,000 will pay about $450 more in taxes for half of this year and the next - about a net loss of $50, once they get those rebate checks they been waiting for since Oct. 1.

Yep that's right, as long as you own a house worth $400,000 or more that rebate is swallowed up by the increase and then some. Instead of going after those that can afford an extra tax, the Mayor and his lackey-like Council is going to make middle class homeowners pay as well.

The upside to this is that the extra $1.8 billion is going to help save a few programs. The Mayor, being the generous billionaire that he is, will pardon $20 million dollars worth of city programs. Yeah, you can do the math for that one. So to the press out there, please do not let the Mayor fool you into thinking that he cares about the welfare of those that can't afford those cuts. Similarly, do not think that the Council has the spine to actually stand up to Bloomberg. If one sees that on display, it is merely political smoke and mirrors.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

State Dept. Panel Makes The Right Call On Blackwater

Here's a bit of good news coming from Washington today. After years of enduring incompetence, cost overruns and multiple murders by Blackwater USA, decision-makers are finally understanding how bad the mercenary companies are. Although it isn't official policy yet, the agency has determined that, surprise, Blackwater should not be dealt with.

From TPM:

A senior official familiar with a report commissioned by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the AP on Wednesday that the panel has called for Blackwater's contract not to be renewed when it expires next year. A decision on the recommendation will be left to the Obama administration, which will be in place when the contract comes up for renewal in the spring.

Rice ordered a review of the department's use of private security firms last September after an incident in which Blackwater guards killed 17 Iraqis in Baghdad. Five guards have been indicted on manslaughter and other charges stemming from that incident. The company was not implicated.

It is not clear how the State Department would replace Blackwater if the recommendation is accepted. The department relies heavily on private contractors, including Blackwater, to protect diplomats in Iraq as its own security service does not have the manpower or equipment to do so.

Well, they could invest more in the military and enlist more soldiers with better wages instead of giving such enormous amounts of business to private contractors. These mercenaries have had little accountability these past five years and (at least at the moment) have gotten away with murder, among other things. It's great that the State Dept. is getting ready to do this, and that it will not be Bush, but Obama's decision to make in a few short months.

Unions Get Busy To Fight Gov's Budget

Now that the budget is out, let the lobbying against it (both public and private) begin:

Could New York City Lose A Borough?

It would be pretty hard to misplace a landmass full of buildings and people, especially here in New York. Yet Assemblymember Andrew Lanza wants his own Staten Island to disappear from the city government of NYC. The borough to the south has tried to part ways with NYC in the past, but Speaker Silver killed it in 1994. Now Lanza wants to get it done next year and has written an epic novel to explain how it can be done.

From The Staten Island Advance:

Lanza said a financial study included in his secession bill shows that the Island could raise enough of its own revenue from property, business and payroll taxes in order to be self-sufficient.

While secession critics had said local taxes would skyrocket if the Island were its own city, Lanza said, "Our taxes have been raised over the years anyway.[...]

Lanza said other "unexploited" economic-development opportunities also could be pursued if the Island were no longer part of New York City.

"Being the second-largest city in the state would give us a lot of clout," Lanza said. "We'd have the second-biggest seat at the table."

Well he's right about them being the second-largest city, but as far as clout goes....I'm not so sure. Staten Island will still be "downstate." Staten Island will still have the same political demographics. Staten Island will still have one Congressmember, two State Senators and four Assemblymembers.

The only things that will change is that they will not be a part of New York City. NYC is a global powerhouse and has a tremendous amount of clout. Staten Island may feel that they aren't treated as well as the others, but they receive what they put in. The island may gain some independence, but it'll probably end up as a costly adventure that the half-million residents may soon regret.

Oh and lest we forget, this is New York and if one of the three men in the room (the one representing the Assembly district in Lower Manhattan) doesn't approve then the 2,114 page piece of legislation, it probably won't even see the light of day.

Tenet Blames The Jews For His Problems

George Tenet, winner of the Medal of Freedom, is reported to have said some not-so-nice things about the members of Bush's inner circle who happen to be Jewish. Yes, Jewish. He had been designated as one of the scapegoats for faulty intelligence that gave Bush the impetus to go in and invade Iraq. Well according to some inside sources, Tenet made his displeasure loud and clear. Well, it might have been a little bit on the slurry side.

From The Atlantic:

A servant appeared with a bottle. Tenet knocked back some of the scotch. Then some more. They watched with concern. He drained half the bottle in a few minutes.

"They're setting me up. The bastards are setting me up," Tenet said, but "I am not going to take the hit."[...]

"According to one witness, he mocked the neoconservatives in the Bush administration and their alignment with the right wing of Israel's political establishment, referring to them with exasperation as, "the Jews."

Stay classy Mr. Tenet, and watch out for that dastardly Scotch!

And Time's Man Of The Year Is....

Not that it's any big surprise or anything, but here he is:

Millionaire's Tax Will Be Debated Whether Paterson Likes It Or Not

The Governor must have thought he was clever by coming up with nearly two hundred different taxes and fee increases to cover more than a third of the budget deficit. According to his office, $6 billion dollars is expected to be raised by making everyone pay more for everything from soda and buying liquor in the grocery store to DMV charges and increases in CUNY/SUNY tuition. Then the remaining $9 billion will be cut by reducing funding, especially in the education and health care sectors. Yet nowhere is there mention of a millionaire's tax. Well, if leaders in the legislature are serious then it'll be put on the budgetary table regardless of what the Governor wants.

From Crain's:

“When you’re saying to a guy who buys a Pepsi with his lunch that you have to pay more to live in New York, but you’re not saying to the Pepsi CEO that he has to pay more to live in New York, it calls into question what government’s priorities are,” says Assemblyman Jonathan Bing, D-Manhattan.

The temporary surcharge that expired three years ago pushed tax rates above 7% for individuals earning $100,000 or more. Last summer, the Assembly passed a bill to cut property taxes and raise taxes to 7.65% on income over $1 million and to 8.6% on income over $5 million. The measure died in the Senate, which at the time was controlled by Republicans. Democrats will comprise a majority of the Senate next year, though leadership of the chamber remains unsettled.

Mr. Bing and many of his Democratic Assembly colleagues favor an income tax increase on individuals earning $1 million or more annually. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, the most powerful figure in state government next to Mr. Paterson, appears ready to insist on such a tax as part of any budget agreement.

“We will demand that all New Yorkers—not just those that depend most on government services—share the sacrifice,” Mr. Silver said in a statement.

I wouldn't trust Silver as far as I could throw him, so his actions will have to speak for him when the budget battle really begins.

Assemblyman Bing is exactly right with his Pepsi comparison. People need to pay their fair share and so far the wealthy are left unscathed. The rich didn't disappear last time there was a surcharge and they won't leave en masse this time either. That argument is fearmongering tactic and nothing else. The only people leaving New York are the ones that can't afford the high rents and taxes hoisted on the working and middle class. A surcharge on the income rate for the fablously wealthy won't hurt their bank accounts, but the money coming in that way will save plenty of programs that help those that are just trying to get by.

This Is How Caroline Should Do It

Only one thing in New York is more controversial than Governor Paterson's budget. It is his potential pick to replace Hillary Clinton in the U.S. Senate. Now I've avoided this soap opera drama for the most part but have firmly believed that a family name can't be everything (despite our fondness as a nation for Clinton's, Kennedy's and yes, Bush's).

People love Caroline and she was instantly popular as a name floated for the Senate. Americans have loved her since she was a little girl in her father's White House. Those warm and fuzzies though, cannot simply be enough to put her in the Senate. Yeah, I know she has a record of public service and that is fantastic, but it isn't enough when a Governor has to install appoint someone for an office such as this. As many have said, she hasn't been tested. That is why I agree with a growing consensus of Democrats that Paterson should pick a caretaker (as was done in Delaware) and let Caroline run to be elected in two years.

From The NY Daily News:

ALBANY - Caroline Kennedy could seal the deal to replace Sen. Hillary Clinton by saying she'll run for the seat in 2010 if she isn't appointed to it, a top Democrat said Tuesday.

"It would scare people away now," the Dem said. "Who would want to take the seat now and have to face her in 2010?"

In this scenario, at least she'd be elected in a democratic process and not simply be annoited for her name. It should not be as easy as going through your rolodex and calling the key figures of the party establishment in order to represent more than nineteen million New Yorkers. Governor Paterson should do the right thing and not listen to the phone calls of Harry Reid, top NY Dems or even Moynihan's widow, our country should be about the process, not political dynasties.

Bush: Anything Bad Wasn't My Fault!

Candy Crowley takes on this latest legacy interview with President Bush and surprise, surprise, the blame (according to him) doesn't fall anywhere near the White House. Make sure you hear the last line of this clip, Bush lays out another drinking analogy to the economic crisis!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Could There Be An Electric Car Competition In America?

For years American car companies went at each other to see who could build the biggest and meanest SUVs. Now with the climate crisis on everyone's minds and an industry on the brink of collapse, this is the best time to change and retool the auto factories of America. Plenty of others have already and now it is our turn. The automakers may have killed the electric car before, but now it is back with avengeance.

From CNN Money:

While General Motors is moving ahead with its Volt electric midsized car, Chrysler says it already has plans in place, not just for electric cars, but also for minivans and even off-road vehicles.

Chrysler's strategy hinges on keeping it cheap. The carmaker will dispense with flashy designs in exchange for low cost and flexibility. And it plans to pile on more electric-powered models quickly once the program launches in 2010.

"We aren't a one-electric-vehicle company," Lou Rhodes, Chrysler's vice president for advanced vehicle engineering, told CNNMoney in an exclusive interview.

That is great news to hear. Watching the electric car market come into its own will be the day I celebrate though. Talking about a new future for American cars is exciting for now, but really, this should have been happening decades ago. I hope Chrysler and the rest of them are really serious about changing the way they do business, because our planet can't take too much more of our recklessness.

WFP And Smith Talk About "Shared Sacrifice" In The Budget

After the Governor released his proposed budget today, plenty of people had a lot to say about all of the fees and oh so many budget cuts. Everyone gets hurt, from Medicare recipients to grade school children, college students and unions. Naturally constituent groups that are directly affected are going to be angry and seek to change what the Governor intends on doing.

Witness Dan Cantor at Working Families Party on the budget:

This is not shared sacrifice. The Governor proposes to balance the budget in an imbalanced way: by raising taxes on the middle class while simultaneously reducing the services we all rely on.

In this budget there's a tax on almost everything. Drinking, smoking, driving, food, health care, going to the movies, downloading music, clothes and haircuts. In total, it's billions in regressive taxes - "nuisance taxes" - that don't add up to a sensible approach.

There is a fair way to end the fiscal crisis. It's called the Fair Share Tax Reform plan. Prudent spending cuts will be necessary. But common-sense and fairness require that we also ask the state's wealthy to carry their fair share of the load. Right now, they don't, and the Governor is asking everyone to sacrifice except those who can most afford to do so.

That's what shared sacrifice must mean, and we hope Albany leaders will see that.

Well speaking of Albany leaders, or at least one that hopes to become Senate Majority Leader President Pro Tempore, Malcolm Smith had something to say as well. Of course, he was more neutral in his response, or so it seemed:

"We applaud the Governor for putting together an honest and courageous Executive Budget. Senate Democrats intend to thoroughly review its proposals and discuss them within our conference. From the Upstate counties to the suburbs of Long Island, Senate Democrats will help lead our state out of the worst fiscal crisis since the Great Depression, by funding a fair budget that will allow us to reduce spending without severely impairing the state's ability to provide essential services. Times are tough and so are the choices we have to make, but any cuts must reflect the principle of shared sacrifice among all sectors as we work together to return our state to fiscal solvency," said Senate Democratic Leader Malcolm A. Smith.

Both Cantor and Smith incorporate the words "shared sacrifice" into their press releases, but does it mean the same thing to each? Cantor doesn't want to see WFP supporters and a progressively-minded budget tossed aside just because of a large money gap to be filled. Hopefully Smith thinks the same thing, though you never know what you'll get with that dealmakerbreaker.

Like what I and many others have said, the income tax needs to be dealt with so that the rich shoulder more of the burden and not just with fees on luxury cars and what not. Paterson addressed those concerns by saying that the most a tax on the wealthy could do was fill $6 billion out of the total $15 billion deficit. Even if that is correct, six billion is still a large chunk of cash and would eliminate the need to make so many cuts and add an even larger amount of ridiculous fees. Perhaps the Governor should sit down with Cantor and bring along Smithjust so both elected men know what the true meaning of "shared sacrifice" is.

President Bush Busies Himself Before Christmas

Ah, so much to do before the holiday and especially the last day in office for the current Pretzeldent:

Education Budget Gets Hit Hard By Paterson

Now that the Governor's officially proposed budget is out, we can see many different taxes and plenty of budget cuts. Besides health care, no sector is being hurt the most than our public education system. University students are being smacked with large tuition increases instead of having the CUNY and SUNY budgets slashed but the kids that are in grades K-12 are going to have their school's budgets cut to the tune of $206 million in NYC alone.

From The NY Daily News:

Gov. Paterson is expected to unveil a doom-and-gloom $121 billion spending plan Tuesday that slices $206 million from New York City schools.

In addition to the 3.3% school aid cut, Paterson will look to slash local aid funding to the city by $244 million, a source said.

The nearly half a billion dollars in city cuts do not take into consideration other planned reductions for the city or the Medicaid cuts city hospitals are facing.

Everyone is going to be hurting from the next budget, at least as it stands now. If the Legislature would stand up and demand that the rich take some responsibility for what is going on with a millionaire's tax or a more progressively scaled income tax that could help the majority of taxpayers. Of course I won't be holding my breath, no matter how much the WFP and the majority of New York wants to see tax increases for the wealthy coupled with budget cuts. Funding education is essential to our economic growth in the future, denying them a quality schooling will cost far more in the long run than hacking off a small slice of wealth at the very top.

Bush Destroys The Monroe Doctrine

One of the first powerful moves by the young nation was taken by President Monroe, who boldly proclaimed that his militarily small Republic had all of Latin America in its influence. Many laughed, but it held true for nearly two hundred years. Unfortunately due to our current President, that influence did not reach its bicentennial anniversary.

From Bloomberg:

Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Latin American and Caribbean leaders gathering in Brazil tomorrow will mark a historic occasion: a region-wide summit that excludes the United States.

Almost two centuries after President James Monroe declared Latin America a U.S. sphere of influence, the region is breaking away. From socialist-leaning Venezuela to market-friendly Brazil, governments are expanding military, economic and diplomatic ties with potential U.S. adversaries such as China, Russia and Iran.

Not only is anti-American sentiment on the rise, it is reaching levels that actually reduce the power of the United States in South America as a whole. This summit is just one example among many, thanks in part to a callousness of the Bush Administration to the diverse and increasingly powerful continent.

Bolivian President Evo Morales last month expelled the Drug Enforcement Administration, alleging that DEA agents were conspiring to overthrow him; U.S. President George W. Bush dismissed the charges as absurd and suspended trade privileges for the Andean nation.

In Ecuador, meanwhile, President Rafael Correa has refused to renew the lease on the U.S.’s only military outpost in South America, a critical platform for the U.S. war on drugs.

For Brazil, tomorrow’s summit caps a decade-long diplomatic drive to use its growing economic and political stability to play a bigger role in the world.

While little concrete action is expected from the first-ever Latin American and Caribbean Summit on Integration and Development, the fact that the U.S. wasn’t invited has symbolic importance, says Lampreia.

It is very important that the U.S. isn't being represented there. The Bush Administration claims that they simply did not want to go but merely talk to some of the players at the conference beforehand. While they may not have asked to be invited, being snubbed if they did would have looked far worse. Bush has wrought so much damage to our global influence, from Europe and the Middle East to our original power base of the Western Hemisphere.

Jackie Mason Rips On Mayor Bloomberg

Yes, the one, the only, Jackie Mason is now a Vlogger. From term limits to his heartlessness for children, Mason rails on the Mayor for nearly everything he's ever done:

Cheney Admits To Approving Torture, Laughs In The Face Of Congress

Not that people didn't assume, highly suspect or know deep down inside already, but Dick Cheney came out yesterday and admitted that he approved of and condoned torture tactics. With just a few short weeks left in the Bush/Cheney Administration, the sinister Vice President brazenly acknowledged that not only does he believe in waterboarding, he supported it.

From RawStory:

When asked by ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl whether he approved of interrogation tactics used against a so-called "high value prisoner" at the controversial Guantanamo Bay prison, Mr. Cheney, in a break from his history of being press-shy, admitted to giving official sanctioning of torture.

"I supported it," he said regarding the practice known as "water-boarding," a form of simulated drowning. After World War II, Japanese soldiers were tried and convicted of war crimes in US courts for water-boarding, a practice which the outgoing Bush administration attempted to enshrine in policy.

"I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared, as the agency in effect came in and wanted to know what they could and couldn't do," Cheney said. "And they talked to me, as well as others, to explain what they wanted to do. And I supported it."

He added: "It's been a remarkably successful effort, and I think the results speak for themselves."

ABC asked him if in hindsight he thought the tactics went too far. "I don't," he said.
Cheney obviously could care less that the American people know that he is in favor of remaking America into an evil empire like that that rules his own head. Despite overwhelming evidence that conducting torture has increased the ranks of Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations he approves of torture. Despite more and more Americans losing their lives overseas and the global goodwill towards our country that vanished overnight, he approves of torture. Despite the fact that waterboarding by Americans doesn't even give us good information, he approves of torture.

Dick Cheney is a sick, deluded and evil man. So what does that say for the Congress of the United States that has given him a free pass? Shame on every single one of them that did not sign up to prosecute Cheney. Sure, there were a few that wanted to but not nearly enough. Congress ignored its duty as a check on the Executive branch and now Cheney is ready to get away scot free.

Guantanamo Bay will be closed under Obama (and hopefully all sites where torture exists) which is great but it does not dish out the necessary justice that Cheney deserves. Either Obama, or the judicial system in some form must act to show the world we do not only abhor torture, but prosecute and incarcerate those that do.

Another Small Step Towards High Speed Rail

If you haven't heard, Barack Obama is taking the train from Chicago to Washington as part of inaugural procession (as opposed to a quick closed-car trip around the White House that Bush took). That doesn't just mean he's taking it slowly getting there, it equals big news for mass transit and particularly train travel in this country that has been neglected for far too long. And just this week, Congress showed continued interest in getting a high speed rail line started between the political capitol and the financial capitol of the nation.

From The Washington Times:

Congressional transportation leaders plan to announce today that the federal government is seeking contractors to build a new $30 billion to $40 billion high-speed rail line between Washington and New York that would be used exclusively by passenger trains.

Amtrak's current Northeast Corridor rail line is shared with freight and commuter trains, which can significantly increase the length of time it takes for passengers to arrive at their destinations.

The rail line for which Congress seeks contractors is the first of a series of nationwide high-speed passenger rail lines the government is considering funding, according to a congressional aide.

That is just the beginning. Other regional high speed rail links are slated for the future (though it really should be sped up, places like Texas and Florida need networks desperately).

Now letting Amtrak operate the lines could be a good or bad thing. Current commuters know that the slow trains cost a hefty price ($63 each way offpeak for starters) between NYC and DC. One can imagine the cost of a train that cuts the time in half. So what they need to do is not only fund the new tracks, but continue to give assistance to the national railline to make ticket prices competitive, just not to the degree where they're BoltBus competitive. Then when there are enough networks onboard and the volume of business can sustain Amtrak, federal subsidies can be lessened.

Mass transit is an essential part of our 21st century economy, and we need to believe in it with our dollars. Even if it costs a hundred or two hundred billion in the long run, it is still a much wiser investment than what we have given to the financial services sector in the last few months.

Monday, December 15, 2008

How NYC Newspapers Colluded With Bruce Ratner To Build Atlantic Yards

When it comes to big business, New York City's major newspapers are in bed with developers like Bruce Ratner. This video shows you the in-depth details of the relationships between the Daily News, the Post and the New York Times:

Cuomo And DiNapoli Honored For Transparency Work

New York can be a corrupt and backroom-dealing state when it comes to politics. Of course, there are plenty of politicians that make that reality happen, but there are a few, or should I say a couple good ones that stand out among the rest. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and AG Andrew Cuomo have shown to the public that they care about transparent government and the Empire Center is rewarding them for their good deeds.

From The Empire Center:


CONTACT: Lise Bang-Jensen

(518) 434-3100

Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo and Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli are being honored with the 2008 SeeThroughNY Award for Promoting Transparency in Government, the Empire Center for New York State Policy announced today.

The award recognizes their innovative web sites that make public information more accessible to New Yorkers. Each is receiving a plaque topped by a transparent piggy bank, the logo of, the Empire Center’s transparency web site.

In January, Cuomo unveiled Project Sunlight, New York State government’s first transparency web site. Project Sunlight offers easily accessible information about elected officials, campaign finance, lobbyists, legislative member items and registered corporations and charities.

In June, DiNapoli released Open Book New York, which contains spending information for 3,100 local governments and more than 100 state agencies. The site also offers an inventory of more than 60,000 active state contacts. All the available data can be loaded into a PDF file or an Excel spreadsheet.

“With Project Sunlight and Open Book New York, Attorney General Cuomo and Comptroller DiNapoli have taken noteworthy steps toward making public information more accessible. Their sites wet the public’s appetite for further government transparency, which they promise in future phases of the sites,” said Lise Bang-Jensen, senior policy analyst for the Empire Center.
New York has been notorious for hiding information from the public in years past. Just ask Joe Bruno how he feels about it. In our increasingly web-based world, it should be easy to put out information that holds our leaders accountable. Yet many would rather conduct the people's business in private. Sites like Open Book NY and Project Sunlight combat that secretiveness and they are rightly commended for that work.

Obama Comes Out Strong (Again) For Net Neutrality

First Google vehemently denied the Wall Street Journal's article about an alleged change of stance concerning Net Neutrality. Now Barack Obama is making a forceful statement of his own in reference to what was said about his policies concerning the freedom of the Internet from corporate dominance. It looks like the Journal is letting their irresponsible Editorial section up and over into the front.

From TPM:

Obama transition spokesperson Nick Shapiro told us moments ago that Obama's position -- strong support for net neutrality -- hasn't changed.

As we noted below, The Wall Street Journal set off a bit of a Web explosion today by reporting that support for net neutrality is eroding and asserting that that Google is supposedly turning against the idea and has approached major cable and phone companies with a secret proposal to "fast track" its content.

The Journal story (which was strongly disputed by Google and many others) also suggests, based on scant evidence, that Obama's position may have softened. But the paper didn't appear to contact the Obama team for any comment.

So we did. Asked if the Obama camp had shifted its stance in any way on net neutrality or softened its commitment to it, Shapiro answered: "No." Even limited public declarations (such as this one) from the Obama transition team about the incoming administration's priorities have been few and far between.

Ouch. Multiple smackdowns for the Journal today. Maybe they should do a little more research when trying to claim that Net Neutrality is under attack from left-leaning Google and the President-Elect. The backlash over the WSJ reporting is fantastic (except for the writer and editors) because it allows Net Neutrality advocates to get reaffirming statements from the big names that have spoken up for the important issue in the past such as the next President.

Bloomberg Has Many Kind Words For The Disgraced Vito Fossella

You think Bloomberg would do the same laudatory introduction for that other disgraced New York politician that was forced to run from office earlier this year? Nah, me neither.

Paterson Proposes Tax Hikes After All...For The Middle Class

The Governor's budget comes out tomorrow, but the details are starting to leak today. He'll definitely being cutting programs for the poor like Medicaid and others. Tuition increases for CUNY and SUNY students is also on the list. Yet for the time leading up till this week, Paterson said he didn't want to increase taxes. Well guess what, he changed his mind....though not for the people that can best afford it.

From The NY Times:

ALBANY — Gov. David A. Paterson will propose a $4 billion package of taxes and fees on a range of items, from sugary soft drinks made by Coca-Cola and Pepsi to luxury items like furs and boats, when he unveils his plan to close a deficit that has ballooned to $15 billion, people with knowledge of the plan said on Sunday.

Higher taxes will also be imposed on health insurers and a sales tax exemption on clothing and footwear under $115 will be eliminated, though the administration will propose a two-week holiday for goods under $500, under the budget the governor will introduce on Tuesday.

A number of fees will be increased, with users of the Department of Motor Vehicles and the state parks bearing much of the burden, people with knowledge of the plan said. Tuition at the State University of New York and the City University of New York will also be increased.

So basically the taxes that affect the working and middle classes will be raised the most. His excuse for not following the wishes of most New Yorkers to cut some programs and tax the rich was ignored. He says that the rich will leave New York and take their money elsewhere, a common tool used to scare the peasants in this globalized age.

Now Governor Paterson has expressed his remorse for these decisions, some that go against what he's voted for in the past. Yet that was then and this is now. Despite his move from the Legislative to the Executive branch in Albany, he should stay faithful to his principles and protect those that really need the help in these dire times and not the wealthy who have for the most part been preparing for nasty economic weather.

Is Google Losing It's Neutrality?

In terms of the free flow of information on the Internet, net neutrality is one of the most important issues of our day. People around the world depend on a high quality broadband network to transport everything from ideas to trade on a scheme of 1's and 0's. The threat of unequal access to this network has been objected to from those on both sides of the political spectrum, save for the network providers that wish to charge extra for those that want to speed up the system's performance for themselves. Google was supposed to be above that malaise of the corporate world and had supported net neutrality in the past. Now it seems they are reversing their position.

From The Wall Street Journal:

Google Inc. has approached major cable and phone companies that carry Internet traffic with a proposal to create a fast lane for its own content, according to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Google has traditionally been one of the loudest advocates of equal network access for all content providers.

At risk is a principle known as network neutrality: Cable and phone companies that operate the data pipelines are supposed to treat all traffic the same -- nobody is supposed to jump the line.[...]

One major cable operator in talks with Google says it has been reluctant so far to strike a deal because of concern it might violate Federal Communications Commission guidelines on network neutrality.

"If we did this, Washington would be on fire," says one executive at the cable company who is familiar with the talks, referring to the likely reaction of regulators and lawmakers.

Oh it wouldn't just be hot in Washington, the whole entire country would be enraged by such a practice. This is what the net was intended to be and Google knows that fully well. They should be ashamed at even entertaining the notion that the web search, etc. behemoth should get special privileges online. Microsoft and Yahoo have already caved, but if Google follows them, they'll be helping to remake the Internet as a place for and by the wealthy, with everyone else in the backseat, just as we are in the tangible corporate world.

Update: Glad to hear this, Google offers a forceful denial of the WSJ story.

The Shoes Heard Round' The World

Just in case you haven't seen the video of Bush barely ducking a pair of shoes being thrown at him, here it is:

Oh and now the guy is being called a hero all across the Middle East.

Bruno's Indictments May Finally Be Near

Ex-Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno has already begun his new lobbying career, but his past might just catch up to him anyways. Bruno has been under investigation for approximately three years now and the government's attorneys could be ready to strike. Or at least Bruno's friends think so.

From The NY Daily News:

Pals of former state Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno are bracing themselves for his possible indictment - which an ally of the one-time GOP powerhouse said is 80% likely - before the year is out.

"The sense is that they spent all this time turning over every rock and they can't just let it go without doing something," a source close to Bruno said. Federal prosecutors have been investigating the ex-majority leader's outside business interests for three years.

Bruno is "prepared for the worst, but isn't going to let it affect the way he handles himself," the source said.

It could just be idle speculation telegraphed out by Bruno, but I suspect reaching out to Liz on this to smooth things over before an indictment does indeed come to fruition. His friends think the case is weak (naturally) but unless they work for the U.S. Government, they really do not have a clue as to what the Feds know. Bruno thinks he's a slick politician, but even those types can be caught.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Yankee Stadium And Citi Field Still Drawing Ire

Yankee Stadium may not have a corporate name, but the deed to the ballpark should be split up among the taxpayers. That goes for Citi Field out in Queens as well, along with a new name. Citibank may only be spending $20 million a year for twenty years for the naming rights, but with their bailout, that name needs to change. Perhaps we can make a deal and call it Irresponsible Corporate Banking Field....or just City Field for short. As Gothamist points out, both teams need to give back.

The Yankees have opened their wallets and committed $243.5 million to two players this week. That’s nothing new for the club, who routinely lead the league in payroll by a wide margin. Coincidentally, the team also went to New York City this week and asked for $259 million in tax-exempt bonds to finish their new Stadium in the Bronx. This is on top of original financing of the $1.3 billion deal, which was also done almost entirely with tax-exempt bonds.

Meanwhile in Queens, the Mets, whose payroll is modest in comparison to the Yankees but still among the highest in baseball, have also received plenty of tax-exempt financing for their new stadium. On top of that, they will receive $20 million a year from Citigroup, an entity that U.S. taxpayers had to bail out a few weeks ago, for the naming rights to the new building.

In this current economic climate, the actions of both teams are offensive. It is bad enough that they have raised ticket prices to levels that ordinary fans can’t afford. But with huge deficits on the federal, state and local levels, their use of tax-exempt financing deprives the public of desperately needed revenue.

Gothamist wants them to stop asking for more money out of city coffers and I whole-heartedly agree. Moreover, I think they should give back ALL the money they have taken since the thought of new ballparks in NYC began. Don't worry though, there is something in it for them as well. With the money returned, the Mets and Yankees can make it up by taking away the free luxury boxes for city officials and sell them at market price.

Gotta have some give and take here, right?

Thom Hartmann Lays Out How The GOP Is Eviscerating Our Auto Industry

So much for the party of business, radio host Thom Hartmann came on the teevee to tell David Shuster exactly why certain Republicans are against bailing out the auto industry yet had no problem helping out rich bankers.

The Quote Rod Blagojevich Wishes He Never Posted

When scandal erupts in the political arenas of our country, there are a few special characters who not only go down for their sins, but get labeled with the bold stamp of hypocrisy as well. Who can forget our ex-Governor here in New York, Eliot Spitzer. The Steamroller was proud of busting prostitution rings, yet ultimately fell from grace due to his involvement in one as client #9.

Well dear old Rod is about to resign, be impeached or thrown out by the courts in the very near future. Now he may not be a hypocrite per say, the guy lived and breathed Chicago politics. Yet the cached version of his Facebook supporter page is priceless.

Detailed Info

Relationship Status:
Married to
Patti Blagojevich
December 10, 1956
Political Views:
Governing, Running, Playing with Amy and Annie
Healthcare, The Cubs
Favorite Music:
Elvis, The King
Favorite Books:
Anything History
Favorite TV Shows:
Sports, Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Favorite Quotations:
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Brilliant quote Rod!